Most of the distilleries which are currently active were created during the XIXth century. Some of them are older, and some of them were built in the second half of the XXth century.
The first half of the XIXth century will see the birth of a lot of distilleries. The invention of the "Coffey Still" (or Patent Still) will make blends possible, which will have a great influence on the export of whisky.
The second half of XIXth century was marked by the greatest ecological disaster which ever affected the French vineyards: the phylloxera. The effect of this disaster was a lack of Cognac. So a lot of people began drinking whisky instead. The effect was the creation of lots of distilleries in Scotland.
First half of the XXth century was an extremely disrupted period, with two world wars, the advent of communism in Russia, the Wall Street krach, prohibition in the United States, and so on...All this factors were harmful for industry, and particularly for whisky distilleries. No new distillery was founded during that period.